Traders on Potomac convenience store set to close

January 30, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • Derek Beck, left, purchases a drink and snacks from Traders on Potomac sales associate Lori Bennett Monday afternoon. Traders on Potomac at 38 S. Potomac St. in downtown Hagerstown will have its last day of business Tuesday.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

Tuesday will be the last day of business for Traders on Potomac, the convenience store next to Bulls and Bears in downtown Hagerstown, Bulls and Bears general manager Jason Elmore said.

Bowman Development Corp., which owns Bulls and Bears and Traders on Potomac, decided to close the convenience store due to lack of sales, Elmore said.

“It hasn’t been a profitable business pretty much from the day it opened, and we saw an opportunity to expand Bulls and Bears,” he said.

The convenience store area will be turned into a private dining room, business meeting room, and conference room, Elmore said.

“We’re hoping to have the private dining room ready by April 1,” he said.

Traders on Potomac opened along with Bulls and Bears in October 2008. The convenience store sells beer and wine, coffee, snacks, sundries, grab-and-go sandwiches and soup.

All items except alcohol and cigarettes are 25 percent off as the store prepares to close, Elmore said.

Employees said the shop is popular with downtown residents, workers and students at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts across the street, many of whom were disappointed by the news that it would close.

“It was like, ‘What are we going to do down here?’” said Pam Hamer, 66, who lives around the corner at Alexander House.

Since CVS closed its West Washington Street location in January 2009 and Skyline Coffee Co. on Public Square closed at the end of October 2011, downtown options for snacks and coffee are limited, particularly in the evenings, Hamer said.

Traders on Potomac has been open until 7 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends.

Zach Myers, 35, who lives on East Washington Street, said the store seemed well-patronized to him.

“I spend $200 a week here,” he said. “Every day before I come to work, I come up here, I get my Gatorade and my Red Bull, and I get a box of Marlboros.”

Myers said even if the store wasn’t profitable, he wished Bowman would keep it open as a public service to the downtown.

Traders on Potomac employee Kathy Brady said she didn’t think the store’s owners advertised enough to give the store a fair chance.

“As of last week when I worked, I still had a customer come in and say, ‘Well, I didn’t know y’all were here,’” Brady said.

Her daughter, Heather Ware, who also worked at Traders on Potomac, said she would be sad to see the store close.

“Hopefully, somebody will be able to put something like that back downtown, because it seems like downtown has a chance to be something great, but the economy kind of isn’t letting it,” Ware said.

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